Category Archives: #nowplaying

Stockholm Syndrone

The return of Stockholm Syndrone! With a slight Halloween tie-in!

The three year old and I have been hitting the Trolls soundtrack pretty hard in the car lately. If she gets her way, we start with “CAN’T STOP THE FEELING!” (Their caps, not mine. And I’m not linking to it. I can’t risk the YouTube video playing before I can click pause.) If I get my way, we start with “Hair Up,” which is made more bearable by the fact that it incorporates the melody of “In The Hall Of The Mountain King,” the highly recognizable Edvard Grieg composition.

You’ve heard it, I swear. It’s used in all sorts of movies and songs, and I found a dynamite orchestral version on an album called Fright Night: Music that Goes Bump in the Night earlier today, so technically it qualifies as Halloween music?

Here’s my favorite version — the one from the soundtrack for The Social Network. Happy Halloween!

Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross — “In the Hall of the Mountain King” [Spotify/iTunes]

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The Blackbyrds

This is a fun one.

First, I have to say thanks to Lacy, wherever you are, for damaging this copy of City Life enough that it ended up in Deep Groove’s sidewalk sale but not so much that a wood glue peel couldn’t bring it back to life. That’s the sidewalk sale sweet spot.

Second, I want to share the lyrics “Rock Creek Park,” the album’s impossibly funky opening track:

Doing it in the park
Doing it after dark, oh, yeah
Rock Creek Park, oh, yeah
Rock Creek Park

That’s the long and short of it. Direct, concise, perfect. Extra credit for how much I’m looking forward to playing this for Mrs. YHT’s parents, who live in Northern Virginia and drive through Rock Creek Park regularly. I’m positive they’ll get a kick out of it, if they’re not already fans. It’s hard to imagine people listening to this song and not digging it.

Speaking of widespread appreciation, I’ve also been having fun looking through WhoSampled at all the songs that incorporate snippets of “Rock Creek Park.” Here’s a partial list — see if you can pick out where it appears in each of these:

And here’s the real deal:

The Blackbyrds — “Rock Creek Park” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Dave Van Ronk

Another gem I snagged at Deep Groove’s sidewalk sale last weekend: Dave Van Ronk’s No Dirty Names LP.

My heart skipped a beat when I saw it, in large part because I spent a couple of weeks recently binge-listening to “Hang Me, Oh Hang Me.” I’m not sure how that started, but Inside Llewyn Davis must be involved on some level, given that Oscar Isaac performs the song in the film. Then again, I didn’t know until, like, right now that the movie was partially inspired by Van Ronk’s autobiography.

Looking through DVR’s discography I see that No Dirty Names came out in 1966, two years after he released a pair of albums in the same year: Inside Dave Van Ronk, which I’m assuming led to the film’s title, and Just Dave Van Ronk, which I pulled out of my dad’s collection a few years back. I’m not sure whether that was before or after the movie came out — just that the album had some value on Discogs and looked interesting.

I’ve come to admire his voice a great deal. You’ll often see the word “growl” associated with how he sang, and No Dirty Names is full of examples why. Opening track “One Meatball” is outstanding in that respect — so much attack in his voice. Same with “Keep It Clean,” which immediately sounded familiar, probably because of Willie Watson’s version. If memory serves, Watson may have even performed it with the Dave Rawlings Machine at the National in Richmond in 2015. Can’t wait for their show there in December.

I digress… but isn’t that what’s great about folk music? You bring up one album and next thing you know you’re three degrees of separation away with a whole mess of amazing music in between.

Dave Van Ronk — “Keep It Clean” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Emitt Rhodes

I don’t always hit up sidewalk sales, but when I do, it always seems to be at Deep Groove Records. There’s something about flipping through records in nice weather right there on Robinson Street… I love it.

I’ve had luck at their sales in the past, but nothing like this weekend. I snagged five items, and I’m going to try to do quickie posts about each of them, because I’m that psyched and can’t help sharing.

First up is Mirror, the third album from one man band Emitt Rhodes. All the instruments, all the vocals… all Rhodes, same as the self-titled album he released before this one. I have the kind folks from Sleepwalkers to thank for putting him on my radar when I first met and interviewed them. Fitting, given how versatile and studio savvy the guys from Sleepwalkers are.

The record was pretty cloudy, which might explain why it was part of a sidewalk sale, but a wood glue peel cleared things up considerably. I hadn’t heard a note of Mirror (it doesn’t seem to be available via iTunes or streaming), but much like his eponymous album, it’s excellent, especially when you factor in Rhodes’ solo approach. Right up there with Paul McCartney’s best post-Beatles output.

See what I mean:

Emitt Rhodes — “Better Side of Life” [YouTube/Discogs]

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Joni Mitchell

First… an apology. I know lots of YHT posts these days boil down to writing about writing — getting the word out about pieces of mine that are published here and there. Interviews and longer articles have definitely been keeping me typing, which is good. I guess that’s more of an acknowledgement than an apology. If you’re reading this, I am exceedingly thankful for your companionship and your help in keeping the blog life alive.

Second… more writing about writing! I had to pass along a link to Lindsay Zoladz’s Ringer article about Joni Mitchell titled “Fear of a Female Genius.” It’s such a powerful and inspiring portrait of a powerful and inspiring person. The force of her individuality comes through in ways that I hadn’t understood or heard about before, and the very end is so touching. Prince is involved. You’ll feel feelings, I promise.

There’s also a fascinating description of how she came to write “Both Sides Now,” the last song on her Clouds album from 1969. I love Blue deeply, but Clouds may be my favorite Mitchell album to play at home, in part because my mother-in-law told me at one point that Clouds was THE jam on her dorm’s hallway at Wheelock College back in the day. I even made a habit of spinning it whenever she visited. A couple of years later, she politely told me she’s not actually the biggest Joni Mitchell fan. Oops.

Still, Clouds was the first thing I reached for when I decided to embark upon a Joni binge with Zoladz’s piece in the front of my mind. “Both Sides Now” describes knowing and not knowing — how experience can paradoxically drive home the limitations of your perspective. That’s certainly how I feel after reading what Lindsay Zoladz wrote. Apparently I didn’t know Mitchell at all.

Joni Mitchell — “Both Sides Now” [Spotify/iTunes]

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Larry Davis

I picked this compilation up a few years back at the Thrift & More Store, located in the median of Pocahontas Trail in New Kent County. The collection is named after the Larry Davis song — a tongue-in-cheek number about how attractive the women in Houston are. Given the events of the last few days, and the harrowing rescue videos coming out of Houston as Harvey continues to cause flooding, it’s tempting to think about the song’s title in another context. I’m not religious, but when I see people with small boats risking their safety to help others, that seems pretty angelic to me.

Davis is also the one who wrote “Texas Flood,” which Stevie Ray Vaughan would go on to cover and even name an album after. It’s an incredibly sad listen right now, but I hope it moves one or two of you to contribute to relief efforts. The Red Cross is where I decided to donate (click here to do so now), though plenty of other organizations could use your help. Consider it your own angelic act in the face of something truly awful.

Larry Davis — “Texas Flood” [YouTube]

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Dharma Bombs

Y’all know about the Carter Family Fold, right? Hiltons, VA? Shows every Saturday evening? Johnny Cash’s rocking chair?

If you’ve been following along with my posts for Virginia’s Travel Blog, you know it’s one of the most sacred musical locations in the commonwealth, given the Carter family’s prominent role in the early days of country music. As it turns out, it’s also the perfect setting for some Appalachian Dixieland.

Richmond’s Dharma Bombs recently collaborated with the folks from Virginia Tourism and Overcoast Music on the above porch-set live session, shot right there on the grounds of the Carter Family’s homestead. Fittingly, they performed “Virginia Swing,” which can be found on the group’s Old Time Romance album from earlier this year.

The studio cut is below — you can snag it via Bandcamp, and in case you hadn’t heard, Bandcamp is donating its profits today to the Transgender Law Center, so don’t be shy about forking over some dough.

Dharma Bombs — “Virginia Swing” [Spotify/Bandcamp]

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